It's been 10 years since Dave Norton, coach of No. 2 Mount St. Joseph, has seen one of his players blast a bases-empty home run like the one Mark Teixiera hit at No. 4 Calvert Hall yesterday.
Teixiera's homer in the sixth inning hoisted his team to a 1-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference victory.
The 375-foot shot landed in the Cardinals' lacrosse practice field -- beyond a 50-foot wide driveway that separates the baseball diamond from the practice facility.
It was the 6-foot-2, 210-pound second-team All-Metro selection's third home run of the season, and it came against the Cardinals' 6-2, 220-pound ace left-hander, Shane Rhodes (3-2). The count was 0-1, two were out, but Teixiera had struck out swinging at fastballs in his two previous at-bats.
"He had pitched a great game and mixed it really well. But he threw a changeup -- his second straight off-speed pitch," said Teixiera, whose hit reminded Norton of one that Dave Tripp hit against the Cardinals in 1987. "I didn't even watch it go, I was so pumped up."
The win was the Gaels' (11-1, 7-1) second over Rhodes, whose Cardinals (12-3, 7-1) had won eight straight games since losing, 2-0, to the Gaels, including a victory over Class 4A state champ Wootton of Montgomery County
Rhodes threw 106 pitches, but had a decent outing otherwise, scattering six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Rhodes let two men on base in the third inning on a walk and Jimmy Dunn's single but got the next two batters out.
Calvert Hall coach Joe Binder acknowledged that Rhodes pitched well enough to win but credited right-hander Eric Watts (6-0) for beating his team for the second time this season.
The Gaels, who erred once yesterday, have played errorless ball three times behind Watts, who threw 71 pitches, yielded four hits, struck out one and hit a batter.
Yesterday's defensive play of the day came with one out in the home third. After Watts (2-for-3 at the plate) had hit Mike Jenkins, Gaels' junior left fielder Eric Gibson robbed All-City/County Dale Berkey of an apparent home run by stretching to grab a 325-footer that was destined for the parking lot beyond the mesh enclosure.
"I leaned back and put my hand on the fence [mesh enclosure] as the ball was coming in, and it [the fence] gave a little, so my hand was actually on one of the cars," said Gibson, who plays left field only when Watts is pitching.
The Cardinals stranded six runners overall. In the first inning, Jenkins and Berkey had consecutive singles with no outs. They advanced on Bret Holmes' ground out to first base, but Watts retired the last two batters on a fly ball and a groundout respectively.
Similarly, Greg DeBoy led off the seventh inning with a single and Mike Waldt reached on an error. Both runners advanced on a bunt only to watch the last two batters pop out to end the game.
"Shane pitched well, but we had opportunities to score and we just didn't get the runs for him," said Binder. "It was a great game to watch, but a tough one to lose."
Pub Date: 4/17/97